The Promise and Peril of Free Speech in Podcasting

August 24, 2021

Over the past decade, many technology companies have made difficult decisions around content moderation and determining what’s appropriate for their platforms. Podcasting largely avoided these decisions until The Joe Rogan Experience came to Spotify and the company faced pressure to remove some of the show’s more controversial episodes, stirring up a longstanding debate around free speech and the marketplace of ideas.

How should podcasting approach the balance between free speech and a commitment to truth and facts? Should audio have different standards than video or social media? Join experts from The Democracy Group podcast network for a roundtable discussion and Q&A moderated by Arielle Nissenblat, Founder of Earbuds Podcast Collective, about how podcasting can and should address these issues moving forward.


Jenna Spinelle

The Democracy Group | Democracy Works

Jenna Spinelle is the Founder of The Democracy Group and Communications Specialist for the McCourtney Institute for Democracy. She is responsible for shaping all of the institute’s external communication, including website content, social media, multimedia, and media outreach. She holds a B.A. in journalism from Penn State and is an instructor in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. Prior to joining the McCourtney Institute, Spinelle helped market Penn State to prospective students and families in the University’s Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Turi Munthe

On Opinion

Turi Munthe is the founder of Parlia - an encyclopedia of opinion, promoting civil discourse. Prior, he built Demotix, a free speech platform which became the largest network of photojournalists in the world. Turi has been a journalist, talking head, policy advisor and VC. He sits on the board of GEDI, Italy's largest newspaper conglomerate, and was a longtime trustee of Index on Censorship and open Democracy.

Justin Kempf

Democracy Paradox

Justin is the host of The Democracy Paradox which explores the diverse range of perspectives and insights about democracy through an interview format. Every week new scholars are invited to share their breakthrough research or bold ideas about politics, economics, and society. As a blog author he writes weekly reviews on classic works of politics, international relations, and philosophy. Democracy is a complex and nuanced concept. It challenges our preconceptions. Take the time to explore the Democracy Paradox.

Arielle Nissenblatt

EarBuds Podcast Collective

Arielle started EarBuds in 2017 and has since worked in many aspects of the podcast industry, including as a studio manager, an in-app curator at Castbox, a festival organizer at Outlier PodFest, and more. Currently, she is the Community Manager at SquadCast, a remote recording software. Arielle is a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. She is on the organizing team behind the Podcast Taxonomy project, an international, multidisciplinary collaborative standard for recognizing roles and credits in podcast production.


Presented by

EarBuds Podcast Collective

Earbuds Podcast Collective brings the diverse, eclectic, and ever-growing podcast universe directly to listeners. Their weekly lists are crowdsourced collections of content from a variety of programs, ranging from prominent sources to indie unknowns.

They also produce a weekly podcast — an audio version of our newsletter — which brings you 5 podcast recommendations via the sound of EarBuds’ founder Arielle Nissenblatt’s voice.

The Democracy Group

The Democracy Group is a network of podcasts united around the goal of helping listeners understand what’s broken in our democracy, and how people are working together to fix it. We see the network as a public service dedicated to creating a more informed, civically engaged electorate.

The Democracy Group is organized and funded by The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State, which produces the Democracy Works podcast in partnership with WPSU, central Pennsylvania’s NPR station.

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